The Functional Movement Screen By: Chris Cush, DPT

What is it? How does it relate to an athlete’s return to sport?

More and more of today’s individuals are working harder to become stronger and healthier. These individuals are constantly working to improve their activities by increasing their flexibility, strength, endurance, and power. A large number of athletes and individuals are performing high-level activities even though they are inefficient in their fundamental movements. Without knowing it, these individuals are putting fitness on dysfunction. This dysfunction is a physical or functional limitation. In order to isolate this dysfunction, the body’s fundamental movement patterns should be considered. The Functional Movement Screen attempts to pinpoint this dysfunction and alleviate it.

The FMS is comprised of seven movement tests that require a balance of mobility and stability. The patterns used in this screen place individuals in positions where weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and limitations become noticeable by a trained healthcare professional. The FMS focuses on correcting mobility first because quality stability is driven by quality proprioception (your body’s ability to sense where you are in space). Once these corrections are made the health care professional will then turn their focus on improving stability to maintain the individuals newly improved mobility.

The Functional movement Screen is also a good diagnostic tool for predicting re-injury in athletes and the weekend warrior trying to increase their fitness level. One study performed to assess FMS accuracy in determining re-injury stated that if the FMS score ? 14 then probability of suffering a time loss injury increased from 15% to just over 50%. Another study indicated that a significant amount of injuries were noted in athletes with right to left sided strength and flexibility imbalances (asymmetries). The seven movement patterns performed during the FMS are the Deep Squat, Hurdle Step, Inline Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight-Leg Raise, Trunk Stability Pushup, and Rotary Stability. Our physical therapists perform the functional movement screen so if you are an athlete with an injury or a weekend warrior looking to increase your fitness level we would love for you to come in and see us!

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